Monday, March 28, 2011

Why I Use "Labels"

As my blog description line so loudly (if blog description lines can be loud, that is) proclaims, I am an unschooling vegetarian animistic green-anarchist (a lot of people were interpreting "green anarchist" as two separate things: that I was both green, and an anarchist, instead of how it was supposed to be read: that I'm a green-anarchist, so I decided the dash was needed) feminist (I've been feeling far more strongly attached to that term lately, so figured I should add it) hippie child.

Some people eschew anything they see as labels, and that's fine.  But as a word lover, I kind of like walking around with a string of words attached to me.  I picture them trailing out behind my head, fluttering a bit in an imaginary breeze as I move around: a banner of pride.  Yeah, pretty fanciful mental image, I know.  But anyway, I choose to attach these words to my person because I identify strongly with them: they make me happy to use, I feel like each one describes me well, and I just like them.  Those words are my friends.

It's important, of course, that everyone gets to fill in their own labels. (Source)

So that's why I don't find "labels" such as those confining at all: when a word stops feeling good, I simply drop it.  As it is, I like being able to define my worldview, my philosophical views, basically the things that influence and impact the way I see things and choose to live my life, in ways that other people can (hopefully) understand.  People with similar views can find me that way, and I feel like it's a bit of a warning to everyone in general: look out, radical here!  I'm always slightly nervous that I'll encounter aggressive disagreement or stressful bullshit from random people when they discover what my views are, so I like to get it all out of the way as soon as possible, before I can start liking someone only to find they react in shock and disapproval when they discover what I really think about things!

Well, okay, that hasn't happened yet (the me liking someone then having them hate me because of my views bit, I mean.  The aggressive bullshit thing has definitely happened!).  But maybe that's just because of my clever strategy of being super open about my views right from the get-go, right?

Either way, I like my "labels" (though I prefer to refer to them simply as words, thus avoiding all the baggage that comes along with the L word).  I like describing things (anything and everything, really) in words, and thus I like describing me in words.  All the feelings I associate with the words I choose to use in regards to myself are positive, feel good ones, and as long as that continues to be the case, I'm going to hang onto them. 

Which is why you won't find me bashing labels anytime soon!


  1. I love how you put it!

    Words are fun!... even if i doubt everyone have exactly the same definition of every word... ;-)


  2. Labels can be very helpful sometimes.
    However, as you've done, it's better to have many labels. Labels are shorthand to magnify our complexity.

  3. I love labels, too. In my blog header, I call myself a dreadlocked hippie-freak farm girl. I use lots of other labels for myself - atheist, polyamorous, burner, liberal. I've never understood the baggage that "labels" have. I think of them as just words, and if they fit, they feel pretty good. I love all your labels! :-)

  4. I love the idea of words trailing behind your head. Thanks for this post.

  5. I think the caption under the photo is exactly the point. Labels are much better if self-applied, rather than stuck on us by others!

  6. I totally agree with you! Words rock and labels have a purpose. Just because I've got one today, doesn't mean that it will be mine forever. I used the be the McDonald's eating girl. Now that label does not apply in any way, shape or form. ;P Today I'm the unschooling, Paleo living, sustainable/green momma. Who knows who I'll be down the road...

  7. Good idea to [*look at the exact words you used to be sure*] "get it all out of the way as soon as possible". :-D It's what I use to do too...but it sometimes ends up badly anyway. T_T
    (Btw just tell me when you're bored of me and my stuff.)

  8. I have mentioned this post in my blog today